Christie’s presents the mid-season Prints & Multiples sale on July 22. Comprised of a cross section of movements and styles, this well selected offering includes work by James Jacques, Joseph Tissot, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Paul Gauguin, Joan Miró, Sam Francis, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha and Rachel Whiteread, among others. This sale is the ideal opportunity to begin or expand collections for new bidders and seasoned print enthusiasts alike. A broad selection of Pop and abstract art complete the Prints & Multiples sale. A unique example is A Dedicated Follower of Fashion (estimate: $3,000-5,000) by Richard Hamilton, a founder of the Pop movement in Britain.
L’Eté (estimate: $2,500-3,500) by Tissot, is a classic Belle Époque image, embodying the romantic French style of the late 1800’s that glamorized upper class life by depicting the refinement and elegance of the society subject. With an emphasis on opulent decorative details, this image highlights the young woman’s sophisticated and intricate parasol, lace gloves, floral brooch, high collar, and idle gaze. The drypoint technique further embellishes the refined scene as it gives the print a rich, velvety texture. An icon of French academic art, Tissot will be celebrated in an upcoming exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art from October 2009 – January 2010. The abstract art selection is highlighted with prints by Brice Marden, Frank Stella, Richard Serra, Grace Hartigan, and Sam Francis.
The sale also includes a complete signed set of 12 offset lithographs by Marcel Duchamp (estimate: $3,000-5,000). Bright orange, blue, green, red and black colors are printed on both sides of six cardboard disks or Rotoreliefs. When spun on a record player they create the illusion of threedimensional space. Typifying his interest in visual phenomena, the animated Rotoreliefs demonstrate Duchamp’s whimsical ingenuity and inventiveness both graphically and in material choice.
In addition, the sale features fifteen Pablo Picasso earthenware pieces ranging in estimates from $800-5,000. Picasso demonstrated interest in pottery early on in his life but it was not until a vacation to Vallauris, France during which he visited the Madoura Pottery Studio that he fully engaged the medium. The studio invited Picasso to design and create earthenware pieces that were then reproduced under his supervision in the years from 1946 to 1971. The themes explored in these pieces are classic Picasso motifs, including female figures, bull fights, and a cavalier and horse. After the recent success of Picasso’s Mousquetaire à la pipe, which sold for $14.6 million in Christie’s May 6 Evening Sale, the Prints & Multiples sale offers the prime opportunity to collect a Picasso Musketeer on a smaller scale with, Face no. 130 (estimate: $1,200-1,800).
There are also prints by Robert Indiana, including seven of his iconic Love prints (estimate: $2,500-3,500), in addition to prints by Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein, and a cast iron multiple by Claes Oldenburg. Contemporary Pop artists in the sale include Jeff Koons, Alex Katz, Jim Dine, and James Rosenquist.
A “musketeer” painted by Pablo Picasso was one of the big attractions at an auction of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s held in London, where it sold for 5.7 million pounds ($9.3 million). The 1969 work, “Homme a l’Epee,” was the second most expensive lot of the session, after Monet’s “Au Parc Monceau,” that went for 6.3 million pounds ($10.3 million). Painted on canvas, the Picasso work shows an exhuberant and colorful swordsman in a scene that mixes thick brush strokes in which red and yellow predominate. Just by chance the rival auction house Sotheby’s is offering this Wednesday to the highest bidder another musketeer – this one painted on wood – by Picasso, executed on July 25, 1969, one day before the one sold at Christie’s. Both works figured in the famous 1970 exhibition at the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France, together with other musketeers, lovers and gentlemen, all charged with energy and a contagious humor.
Another important Spanish artist, Joan Miro (1893-1983), led the bidding Tuesday at Christie’s, where his “Peinture (Femme se poudrant)” sold for 3.9 million pounds ($6.4 million).
Giovanna Bertazzoni, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London: “During the last 6 months, our auctions of Impressionist and Modern Art in London, Paris and New York have produced consistently solid results and this evening’s sale confirms that collectors, both new and established, have confidence buying works by established artists in this category. We see consistent demand throughout and overall the prices of individual works remain stable. At the top end of the market we continue to see strong interest and bidding as collectors seize opportunities to acquire rare and beautiful works of art.”
The top price was paid for Au Parc Monceau, 1878, by Claude Monet (1840-1926), an important painting from the vintage years of Impressionism which realised £6,313,250 / $10,284,284 / €7,392,816. It had been sold at auction only once before when it realised £3.7 million in June 2001 in London. At this evening’s auction, 2 works of art sold for over £5 million / 9 for over £1 million. Buyers (by lot / by origin) were 83% UK and Europe, 14% Americas and 3% Asia.
Further leading highlights of the sale included:
Painting, 1949, by Joan Miró (1893-1983), one of an outstanding group of pictures described as being among the most important of the artist’s career which sold for £3,961,250 / $6,452,876 / €4,638,624 against a pre-sale estimate of £2.2 million to £2.8 million.
Elsewhere in the sale, Hélène by Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941) sold for £1,721,250 / $2,803,916 / €2,015,584; Mohn by Emil Nolde (1867-1956) realized £1,273,250 / $2,074,124 / €1,490,976, and Composition by Fernand Léger (1881-1955) sold for £1,217,250 / $1,982,900 / €1,425,400.
Further highlights included Buste de Diego sur tige, a bronze by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) which sold for £1,026,850 / $1,672,739 / €1,202,441 (estimate: £750,000 to £950,000) and Mont-roig, le pont, an important early landscape by Joan Miró (1893-1983) which was painted in 1917 near his family home in Catalonia and which sold for £541,250 / $881,696 / €633,804 (estimate: £400,000 to £600,000).
“Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937” is the first major museum exhibition to identify the core practices and strategies Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983) used to attack and reinvigorate painting between 1927 and 1937, a vital decade within his long career. Taking as its point of departure the notorious claim Miró made in 1927—“I want to assassinate painting”—the exhibition explores 12 of Miró’s sustained series from this decade, and includes some 90 paintings, collages, objects, and drawings. The exhibition is organized by Anne Umland, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, and will be on view in The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Gallery, from November 2, 2008, through January 12, 2009.
Explains Ms. Umland, “This exhibition takes a close-up, in-depth look at a decade’s worth of Miró’s work, created during a period of economic and political turmoil, illuminating the way his drive to assassinate painting led him to reinvigorate, reinvent, and radicalize his art. The resulting body of work is at times willfully ugly, and at others savagely beautiful. It brings together both beloved masterpieces and largely unfamiliar works, transforming our understanding of Miró’s legacy for our own twenty-first century times.”
In 1941, The Museum of Modern Art organized the first full retrospective of Miró’s work to be mounted anywhere in the world, followed by major exhibitions in 1959 and 1973, and a landmark retrospective, presented on the centennial of his birth, in 1993. Fifteen years later, Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937 offers a fresh look at the artist’s work through a tightly focused presentation of a single transformative decade.
By assembling in unprecedented depth the interrelated series of works of this decade, this exhibition repeatedly poses the question of what painting meant to Miró and what he proposed as its opposite, and in the process reveals the artist’s paradoxical nature: an artist of aggression and resistance who never ceased to be a painter, a creator of forms. Acidic color, grotesque disfigurement, purposeful stylistic heterogeneity, and the use of collage and readymade materials are among the tactics that Joan Miró used to take apart and reconstruct painting and his own art.
The body of work Miró produced between 1927 and 1937 is symptomatic of the troubling malaise and creeping sense of doom that emerged in Europe as the so-called Roaring Twenties came to an end, and as the political tensions that would, by 1939, lead to World War II became increasingly apparent. The compressed time period examined by the exhibition reveals the extensive range of Miró’s experimentation during these years and the many different types of art making he pursued in order to produce a body of work that defiantly refuses to add up. The persistent tension he maintained between abstraction and figuration, the radical and the traditional, formal mastery and aesthetic “murder,” is among his radical achievements.
The exhibition’s principal goal is to illuminate the particular and changing character of Miró’s challenge to painting during these years, a period of his work that is generally under-recognized and not well understood. This exhibition reunites works from long-separated series, including over 20 works never before seen in the United States. The Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, have each contributed a number of important loans to the exhibition, among them the Pompidou’s remarkable Portrait of a Dancer (1928), which has never been shown in the United States and which, for the first time since leaving Miró’s studio, will be reunited in this exhibition with the two other extant works from the artist’s series of Spanish Dancer collages.
The exhibition is organized to follow Miró’s practice of conceiving and executing his works in distinct series, adopting the artist’s own groupings and, in the case of those works that he dated by day, month, and year, reflecting the sequence of presentation that he determined. The installation is structured around 12 series created between 1927 and 1937, while working in Paris, Montroig (a rural village on the coast of Catalonia), and Barcelona. It begins with a 1927 group of works on unprimed canvas and concludes with 1937’s singular, hallucinatory painting, Still Life with Old Shoe, a work that establishes a historical endpoint for this decade-long period of experimentation. The tight chronological framework affords the opportunity to present individual series of works in sustained depth.
Constructions and Objects, 1930–32: Working in Montroig between August and November 1930, Miró created as many as 12 relief constructions, although only the two on view in this gallery are known to have survived. The following year he began to make small objects, including the six presented in this gallery, that frequently combine found materials with painted figures and passages of glued sand, juxtaposing real-world objects with imaginative images to create a richly volatile mix of painting and assemblage. Miró and the Surrealists pointedly referred to many of the three-dimensional works he made between 1931 and 1932 as objects, not sculptures, to underscore their distance from aesthetic conventions and norms. Wood panels and blocks recur frequently, both as defiant references to the tradition of painting on wood and as surfaces onto which objects are nailed or stapled.
Still Life with Old Shoe, 1937: Miró left Barcelona for Paris sometime before October 28, 1936. With the civil war in Spain advancing without a foreseeable end, he decided to remain in the French capital; his wife and daughter joined him in December. They would not return to Spain for four years. On January 12, 1937, Miró announced his intent to do “something absolutely different,” and abruptly returned to working from life—from the observation of an external model, of real objects arranged in space. The result was the incandescent, hallucinatory painting Still Life with Old Shoe, which marks a historical endpoint to the decade-long period presented in this exhibition. The painting is both a still life and a landscape, in which the irregular back edge of the tabletop can also be read as an undulating horizon line. Scale and perspective have been adjusted, so that the worn old shoe dwarfs the surrounding objects. The color is highly saturated and dissonant, and the objects seem to glow from within.
The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza opened the exhibition Miró: Earth. It offers a totally innovative presentation of the work of Joan Miró that focuses on a recurrent concept in the artist’s work: the earth. For the first time this theme will be the subject of a major monographic exhibition covering Miró’s entire career from 1918, the year of his first solo exhibition, to his death in 1983. On view 17 June through 14 September, 2008.
An international investigation of the production and sale of counterfeit limited edition fine art prints of renowned artists, has resulted in federal criminal charges against seven defendants, including three Europeans and residents of Florida, New York and Illinois, U.S. and Spanish law enforcement officials announced today. Two separate indictments allege that the defendants sold thousands of counterfeit prints-at prices well in excess of their value-to victims in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan. The indictments allege that the defendants together reaped more than $5 million in illegal proceeds from the separate, but overlapping fraud schemes. In both cases, investigators tracked the distribution of bogus works, purportedly by such artists as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro, Andy Warhol and others, from counterfeit distributors to an art dealer in north suburban Northbrook, Illinois who allegedly sold the inauthentic prints to victims, primarily through eBay, an internet auction web site.